(NNS) -- USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and 2,800 Sailors arrived at Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton, Wash., Dec. 9 after completing a four-day transit from San Diego.
Nimitz is in Bremerton to conduct a year-long dry-docked maintenance period at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) and Intermediate Maintenance Facility where the ship will receive major upgrades to its combat, self defense, navigation and potable water systems and numerous other components.
The Navy also announced Dec. 9 that Nimitz will be homeported at Naval Station Everett, Wash., upon completion of the ship's maintenance period at Bremerton. Nimitz is expected to complete the maintenance period in December 2011.
"Great job to everyone for making this all happen," said Capt. Paul O. Monger, Nimitz's commanding officer. "Maintenance of the ship, moving families and other factors went into the decision."
The general reaction of Sailors was mixed. Sailors were relieved to hear the decision was made but some were hoping to return to San Diego after the ship's dry-dock period. Others, however, were excited about the ship being homeported in Everett.
"I'm excited to finally know," said Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Melody Rogers. "We've been up in the air wondering where we were going to go after Bremerton. I'm just happy I'll be closer to home."
Prior to pulling into port, Kitsap county officials, Bremerton city officials and the mayors of both Bremerton and Port Orchard, Wash., flew aboard to welcome the ship and crew to the Kitsap area.
"It is exciting to see the dedication of the men and women who defend us every day," said Lary Coppola, the Port Orchard mayor.
Hundreds of family members, friends and shipmates welcomed Nimitz at the pier in Bremerton as the ship arrived.
"I'm happy to see my husband again, and I'm excited to be here in Washington. It's a beautiful area," said Jessica Rubio, the wife of a Nimitz Sailor.
For the Nimitz' crew, the next week will be busy as the crew moves from the ship into their new homes in the Kitsap area and into barracks rooms at Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton.
"I'm excited to be in the barracks," said Culinary Specialist Seaman Brandy McHayle. "It's going to be more comfortable than living on the ship, and it's better to be sleeping in a bed than a rack."
Additionally, the ship will be offloading nearly 400 privately-owned vehicles that were onloaded in San Diego as part of an opportune lift program to help Sailors and families move their vehicles from California to Washington.
While in dry-dock, the Navy expects to accomplish approximately 450,000 man days of work during the docking-planned incremental availability. Much of the work will be conducted by government workers at PSNS, but a substantial amount, around 72,000 man days, is expected to be accomplished in the private sector, with a significant effort being accomplished by the Nimitz crew.
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